Hello everyone and welcome to my first article ever! My name is Chris, I am a competitive MTG player and very dedicated PPTQ grinder of the Montreal area. However, even a competitive player needs to just relax and have fun sometimes, so today I will be introducing you to my favorite Commander deck. I’ve built this deck from scratch and literally went through the whole Wizards Gatherer to pick every single card when I started this list out and spent a lot of time tweaking it. If you’re a patient player who enjoys long games and doesn’t feel the need to just kill everyone in sight as soon as possible, also known as durdling, then you might just love this one.
Our general is the blue/white God from Born of the Gods, Ephara. I chose her because not only she is hard to kill, being an indestructible enchantment most of the time, but also because she generates one of the most critically important and also enjoyable advantages in a game of Magic, which is consistent card advantage. Let’s take a closer look at the sweet stuff she does, shall we?
First of all, she costs 4 mana (2UW), which is a pretty medium cost for a Commander. Since she will rarely die, you can expect to cast her once or twice per game about 90% of the games you’ll play. I think the record for highest mana cost I’ve had so far for her was 10, and that happened on 2 games played among hundreds.
Ephara will not be a creature as long as you do not have 7 devotion to blue or white combined. That can be considered both advantageous and disadvantageous for the following reasons:
– It being a creature means it can actually assist you in combat, which is good. (6/5 indestructible is pretty much a tank.)
– However, it NOT being a creature also makes her much harder to kill. You pretty much need an exile effect that targets an enchantment, and there aren’t a lot of cards out there that do that. This makes it much easier for you to consistently take advantage of her second ability:
At the beginning of each upkeep, if you had another creature enter the battlefield under your control last turn, draw a card.
The key words here are each and last. This means that at every player’s upkeep, if you had a creature enter play the last turn, you draw a card at that player’s upkeep. When I saw this ability at first, I asked myself: What’s the best way to abuse this? Flash creatures, and token makers.
Now, drawing cards is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also pretty useless if you don’t get to use them and die. Also combined with the fact that the deck will not be doing anything busted, so if you’re going to win the game, it’s going to take a while for you to build up enough advantage and take control of the game. The key to a game plan like this: cheap, disruptive interaction, and to take advantage of Ephara, you need those to be on creatures as much as possible. One of the effects that tends to be heavily underestimated in Commander is artifact/enchantment removal. This is extremely crucial. We could name a lot of game breaking artifacts and enchantments out there. If we tried naming all of them, we’d probably still be at it next year.
Here is my current list:
The first 2 changes I’m thinking of applying to the list, if you have the cards, would be swapping one of the basic lands with a Tundra, and swapping the Clone for a Stunt Double. The deck’s general converted mana cost is pretty low, only having 2 cards at 6 mana which are board wipes, everything else costs 5 and under. Even if the deck is low costed, you should still highly value making your land drops every turn as that will give you more flexibility and power throughout the game. More lands in play, play more spells, draw more cards off Ephara, profit.
The deck also has 0 enchantments other than the 2 gods and only a few mana rocks for artifacts to lessen the impact of Akroma’s Vengeance and Austere Command on yourself, while also making other player’s disenchant effects pretty bad against you. That’s great, they’ll use them on other players! The ideal situation with this deck is being able to get Ephara out before turn 4 with a mana rock and have some combination of creatures and disruption spells to follow up. Whitemane Lion and Stonecloaker are all-stars in your deck because you can play them on any player’s turn, they can bounce themselves and you can trigger Ephara’s ability as much as you like without running out of resources.
One of the red flags for this deck is the moment when opponents are also generating card advantage (Sylvan Library for example) or when they are threatening to combo off. Other than that, the deck has the tools to deal with pretty much anything your opponent can throw at it. Cyclonic Rift/Wraths can reset any board, you have multiple forms of life gain to combat burn/loss of life, and you have Elixir of Immortality and White Sun’s Zenith to avoid losing from decking out as well as Stonecloaker/Angel of Finality for graveyard hate.
This deck also plays a pretty strong politics game (most of my games are casual multiplayer), because everyone out there will love having you around since you’ll be disrupting the most dangerous player in the game and stopping them from killing everyone, and also because you’ll hardly be a threat to anyone. That on its own will buy you time to execute your game plan. The best part about it is that you get rewarded for improving your board state. You draw cards off of putting creatures in play, and if they’re disruptive to your opponent like Aven Mindcensor, Glen Elendra Archmage for example, you even get rewarded for disrupting your opponent! Drawing a card, getting one more creature in play, and disrupting your opponent’s spell all with one card is insane value. Imagine when you get to do that multiple times over the course of a game!
One of the weak points about this deck is that it’s not very forgiving until you’re completely set up. The deck isn’t high on power level, so you really have to be selective on what and how you answer your opponent’s spells. There are a few decks out there who might force you to be more aggressive than others because their late game plan is just not something that can be dealt with unless you go as big as them, and that’s not something this deck can do (Omnath, Locus of Rage, Maelstrom Wanderer for example). I see decks like those as control decks, just like this one, but with a much stronger end game. Since your goal is to play a long game, you should see any deck with a better long game than you as a major threat. Those are pretty rare, however.
I hope you guys will have as much fun as I have playing this deck if you end up trying it out. If you have any comments, questions or feedback, please do feel free to post below and I’ll be happy to respond whenever I get a chance to. Thank you!